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October 4, 2022

Extraordinary Photo Shoots for Buick in the Early 1950s

This is a story that began with a dozen or so interesting-looking 8-by-10 glossy prints bought from a New York auto literature dealer. Taken in 1951 and 1953, they show 1952 and 1954 Buicks on the roof of a large building in an industrial area. Some of the cars are perched on a turntable, surrounded by white reflectors.

Many of the shots feature models of the flesh-and-blood variety. But with an almost complete absence of backdrops, the pictures obviously weren’t intended for publication. The pictures were intended as artists’ studies for advertising and promotional illustrations.

In the 1950s, most dealer sales brochures used painted illustrations rather than photographs. The location of the shooting was the bigger mystery. As with most professionally made pictures, there’s not much evidence of the photographer. Except: 1950s cars being what they were, these Buicks made liberal use of chrome. A little hunting, and high-resolution scanning, revealed the photographer and his crew — reflected in the wheel covers, bumpers and miscellaneous brightwork.


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